Do Popcorn Ceilings Cause Dust?

dusty popcorn ceiling

Popcorn ceilings are great for hiding imperfections but can cause problems when it comes to cleaning.

Since popcorn ceilings don’t have a smooth texture, many people wonder whether they accumulate or even cause dust in their homes. Everyone wants to have a clean, dust-free living space so popcorn ceilings can be a major concern.

Let’s discuss popcorn ceilings and whether they collect or cause dust.

Do Popcorn Ceilings Cause Dust?

Inside Your Home

For any type of ceiling, dust is inevitable. Most people do not clean their ceilings regularly. Because of this, dust particles accumulate over time. With the added texture of popcorn ceilings, there is more space for dust to gather.

Popcorn ceilings do not create household dust, but they do collect it. Dust tends to build up in the rough texture of popcorn ceilings, especially because they are so difficult to clean.

On a ceiling with a smooth texture, dust may accumulate, but it is fairly easy to clean. Popcorn ceilings present challenges for homeowners because of all the nooks and crannies that can hide dust particles.


There are very few popcorn ceilings installed in outdoor spaces. However, older houses may have some on the balcony or garage. Popcorn ceilings were very popular in the 1970s for concealing imperfections, so they remain in certain homes.

Outdoor popcorn ceilings are not very common because the texture is very friable, meaning it is fragile. There will be more wear and tear on an outdoor ceiling, which may cause flakes to peel and fall off. Popcorn ceilings that are outdoors will face higher temperatures and humidity.

If it was installed before 1979, the popcorn ceiling texture could contain asbestos. This can be a health risk for homeowners if it becomes airborne.

Also see: How to Remove Mold from a Popcorn Ceiling

Is Popcorn Ceiling Dust Dangerous?

From the 1950s to 1980s, popcorn ceilings were extremely popular to install because they were cheap and easy to apply. During this time, the popcorn ceiling texture was 1-10% asbestos because the dangers of asbestos were unknown.

If you have a home built during this period, your popcorn ceilings will most likely have asbestos. If the ceiling never crumbles or flakes, this could present no problems for you. That being said, if that popcorn texture starts to crumble, the asbestos will be released into the air and cause health risks.

Homeowners with new houses do not have to worry about this problem. Newly installed popcorn ceilings are safe, even if they start to fall off. If you have a home built before 1979, make sure to have your ceilings checked for asbestos before you perform any DIY repairs.

Can Inhaling Popcorn Ceiling Dust Be Dangerous?

If the fibers of a popcorn ceiling are disturbed, it could release asbestos into the air. This could be extremely dangerous. Inhaling popcorn ceiling dust that has asbestos could cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.

Because of these health risks, it’s important to have your popcorn ceiling tested. A professional can tell you the percentage of asbestos that resides in your ceiling.

Even if there is asbestos in the ceiling, there is a chance that it will never be harmful. If the popcorn ceiling is in great condition, you can leave it alone and the asbestos won’t cause any problems. You also have the option of painting over the ceiling to trap asbestos and prevent it from becoming airborne.

Lastly, you could remove the popcorn ceiling to avoid asbestos exposure. This can be an expensive process given you cant simply scrape or sand the texture, you’ll need to employ the services of a contractor.

Minimize Dust By Painting the Textured Ceiling

A coat of paint over a popcorn ceiling can avoid dust collection. You just have to make sure that the ceiling is free of dust before you add a layer of paint. This also will cover any stains and can do a great job of preventing asbestos exposure.

How To Dust Popcorn Ceilings

As a homeowner, you can prevent the buildup of dust on your popcorn ceilings through regular cleaning. There are a few simple ways to dust a popcorn ceiling, but your ceiling may need more extensive cleaning if it hasn’t been dusted for a while.

Lint Roller

One of the most simple ways to dust a popcorn ceiling is by using a lint roller. In the same way that lint rollers collect dust from your clothes, they can be used to get rid of dust from your ceiling.

You’ll need a ladder or a 3-foot extendable pole. It can be very hard to reach your ceiling, so these tools will make it easier. It’s a good idea to get a 10-inch sticky roller so that you can cover more surface area. Using a smaller lint roller will take more time.

Roll the lint roller over a small section of your ceiling before dusting the entire area. Make sure that it doesn’t damage the popcorn texture.


If your vacuum has a brush attachment, you can use it to clean the dust from your ceiling. Simply sweep the brush along the ceiling’s surface, but make sure that you are being gentle. Pushing on the popcorn texture too hard may cause damage.

Microfiber Duster

You can use an extendable microfiber duster to wipe away dust from popcorn ceilings. This is as simple as dusting a bookshelf, but you will want to cover any surfaces to avoid falling dust debris. Unlike a lint roller or vacuum, the duster won’t collect the dust.

How To Get Rid of Dust Mites on Popcorn Ceiling

Dust mites are microscopic insects that live in household dust. Although you can’t see them, dust mites can cause allergic reactions for some people. If you notice that you are sneezing excessively, have a runny nose, itchy nose, or nasal congestion, you’ll need to take action to remove as many dust mites as possible.

Even though dust mites prefer to live in bedding, on carpet floors, and furniture, they can be anywhere in your house that has dust. Because popcorn ceilings gather household dust, they also tend to have more dust mites. However, there are some steps you can take to get rid of dust mites and avoid health risks.

Lower Temperature and Humidity

Dust mites are comfortable in places that are 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, with 70-80% humidity. If you lower your household temperature to 70 degrees, it creates an uncomfortable environment for dust mites.

Lowering the humidity in your home will also prevent dust mites. They prefer a high humidity level, so if your home has a humidity of less than 50%, dust mites won’t be able to reproduce quickly. You can easily regulate the spread of dust mites with dehumidifiers and air conditioning.

Dust Regularly

Since dust mites live in dust, you can get rid of dust mites through regular cleaning. If you follow the steps to clean your popcorn ceiling, you can avoid the accumulation of both dust and dust mites in your home.

Final Thoughts

Popcorn ceilings can create many problems for homeowners. Although they became popular because their installation process is convenient, they can be tough to clean.

The popcorn ceiling texture easily collects household dust, but this is easy to manage with regular cleaning. Dusting a popcorn ceiling can be done without professional help, so there is no need to stress.

When a popcorn ceiling crumbles, it can be hazardous. Older homes may have asbestos in their popcorn ceilings, so always make sure to have them inspected. If they contain asbestos, it would be more beneficial to leave them alone or remove them completely.

  • Gregory A Seely
  • Gregory A Seely

    Greg is a self taught home renovator and writer for RenoViso. His shares his experiences with Southern Living, Traditional Home and other publications.

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